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View Full Version : "Real" rock songs/bands that actually use uke?



kegmcnabb
01-20-2016, 05:49 AM
Hey all,

Just wondering what rock songs and or bands actually originally used ukulele (as opposed to being later adapted for uke)?
Classic, modern, or indie.

A few examples come immediately to mind:
The Who - Blue, Red, and Gray
Paul McCartney - Ram On
Gorillaz - Revolving Doors
and, of course, Mr. Vedder.

...but there must be others.

Any thoughts? (Oh, yeah, I know...Beirut and Train...but they don't really appeal to me, so we can leave them out. Not slagging. Just personal taste.)

Thanks,
Keggy

hammer40
01-20-2016, 07:45 AM
How about this one...Into the Wild by LP

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pse641zHpP8

hammer40
01-20-2016, 07:55 AM
Can't leave out Queen.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XJgfvp59ExQ

Booli
01-20-2016, 08:31 AM
'Cousin Earth' (formerly Ukulelien) has NO guitars and is an AWeSOMe NY/NJ area indie band

'Fun While You Wait', is also a NJ local uke-focused indie band

Jason Mraz performs with uke often as do Sarah Mclachlan, Louden Wainwright, Jim Boggia

Jan Laurenz has a lot of cool vids on YT

as there's TONs of solo/duo artists, but few of them are 'mainstream rock' as what you'd find on analog FM radio

You want to look more at FOLK or BLUEGRASS and some new country and you will see TONS of ukulele as well.

Check out the official YT channel of The Grand Ole Opry, or official YT channel of NPR Tiny Desk Concerts, as well as uketoob.com

I've not seen Maroon 5 playing uke, but Chester Bennington from Linkin Park has been known to play the uke, but not sure if he's performed live with it yet.

FourSilverMoonbeams
01-20-2016, 09:06 AM
Noah and the Whale - Five Years' Time.

natchez
01-20-2016, 09:46 AM
George Harrison- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5CkIniOcqs

dickadcock
01-20-2016, 02:42 PM
Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards, on lots of songs.

Luke El U
01-20-2016, 02:59 PM
The Stink - While You Were Out

janeray1940
01-20-2016, 03:27 PM
In addition to bass, IIRC Lyle Ritz played ukulele on a couple songs on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.

bunnyf
01-21-2016, 08:06 AM
Hellogoodbye ukes in many of their songs. Just saw Van Morrison playing a tenor uke.

Recstar24
01-21-2016, 11:29 AM
In addition to bass, IIRC Lyle Ritz played ukulele on a couple songs on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.

Really? Never knew that. And it's my favorite album. I'll have to listen closer. The arrangements do get very dense making it hard to hear I would imagine.

janeray1940
01-21-2016, 12:00 PM
Really? Never knew that. And it's my favorite album. I'll have to listen closer. The arrangements do get very dense making it hard to hear I would imagine.

Definitely at the top of my favorites list too, although I'm incapable of picking a single favorite :) I don't recall where I first read that but there are a few online "liner notes" sites that say he played uke on Caroline, No and I'm Waiting for the Day. I'm listening to it now and it does indeed sound like really subtle arpeggiated uke picking at times on Caroline, and on Waiting there are a few uke fills. Give it a listen and let me know what you think!

coolkayaker1
01-21-2016, 05:38 PM
Mumford and Sons.

http://youtu.be/toDkIU7gSY8

Laura Marling.

http://youtu.be/7VXMC79twnA

ukulelekarcsi
01-21-2016, 10:23 PM
Really? Never knew that. And it's my favorite album. I'll have to listen closer. The arrangements do get very dense making it hard to hear I would imagine.

On 'I'm waiting for the day' and 'Caroline, No'. And yes, you're right: it's heard to hear in Brian Wilson's busy arrangement (strings, sound effects, stacked vocals).

There's loads of popular groups using the ukulele today in non-traditional music, but I wouldn't call it rock: it's more often poppy, quirky, sometimes ballad-like music, not hard-driving dance music with steady 1 and 3 beats. The problem is that rock emerged in the 1970s when the ukulele his a low tide. Hence rock is not often associated with ukuleles

A lot of British rockers of that era did however have their first musical paces on ukuleles, and subsequently reached out to them on recordings, but not always on their rock songs.

- Brian May on Good Company (1975, more of a dixieland style song with Formby playing on a Japanese Aloha ukulele) and on Bring Back That Leroy Brown (1974, more of a vaudeville song, recorded on a Formby banjo-ukulele, later played on tour on a Sheltone banjo-ukulele). So played by a rocker, but basically dixieland tin-pan alley kind of songs.
- Pete Townshend on Blue, Red and Grey (1975, a 'light' song with positive lyrics, a simple arrangement of just vocals, ukulele and horns, and included as a kind of 'demo track' by producer Glyn Johns, much to the embarrasment of Townshend himself)

Note that on none of the above recordings, the regular singers/frontmen of Queen or The Who were featured - so not as 'rock' as you think.

Take the Beatles. The string-instrument playing beatles were heavily uke-addicted (anecdotes about them abound), but they barely recorded with the instrument
- McCartney played it on the title song of Ram On (1971)
- Harrison only included it on his posthumous album (2002), in a tin pan alley song, the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. But he did play a bit at the end of the collage-song Free as a Bird (composed 1977, finished and released in 1995)

Captain_Lovehandles
01-21-2016, 11:25 PM
'Cousin Earth' (formerly Ukulelien) has NO guitars and is an AWeSOMe NY/NJ area indie band.

I've got their new album and it's lots of fun.

dickadcock
01-22-2016, 01:50 AM
A couple of years ago, he did this regularly in concert; probably still does.

87640

janeray1940
01-22-2016, 04:41 AM
- Harrison only included it on his posthumous album (2002), in a tin pan alley song, the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. But he did play a bit at the end of the collage-song Free as a Bird (composed 1977, finished and released in 1995)

Oh and one more - on Any Road there's a little bit of banjo uke at the very end.

kegmcnabb
01-22-2016, 06:39 AM
Wow!
Thanks for the replies. Plenty to listen to!

futboljim
01-22-2016, 12:26 PM
Train - Hey Soul Sister